UPDATE 3-Numericable wins battle for Vivendi's SFR

Sat Apr 5, 2014 2:47pm EDT
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* Cable company's bid accepted over rival Bouygues offer

* Winning offer combines 13.5 bln eur cash, 20 pct stake

* Also includes potential 750 mln eur milestone payment

* Criteria included business logic, jobs, antitrust risk

* Sale plan will now be presented to unions, regulators (Adds reactions from Bouygues, French govt)

By Lionel Laurent and Leila Abboud

PARIS, April 5 (Reuters) - France's Vivendi said it had accepted cable company Numericable's bid for its telecom unit SFR, which would give Vivendi at least 13.5 billion euros ($18.5 billion) in cash plus a 20-percent stake in the new entity.

The plan, which will be presented to unions and regulators for approval, effectively hands victory to Numericable's Franco-Israeli backer Patrick Drahi after a fierce month-long bidding war against fellow billionaire Martin Bouygues, whose family company owns France's No. 3 mobile operator.

The agreed sale of SFR also promises to reshape Europe's third-biggest telecoms market after two years of fierce price competition, triggered by the arrival of low-cost player Iliad in the mobile arena.   Continued...